I am exploring Responsible Innovation for a short paper for the European Commission and have been pondering in what ways the initial introduction of GMOs was responsible or irresponsible innovation. Obviously it’s not possible to get to the bottom of this in the 10 days allocated!
However could GM actually be seen as a ‘poster child’ for Responsible Innovation?
The public and other stakeholders took a look at the technology, didn’t like the way it was developed, what it was going to be used for and decided it should be banned. Governments and regulators responded effectively and it was gone!
This is just what we are advocating when we empower the public – aren’t we?
One of the main components of the current view of Responsible Innovation is the involvement of stakeholders and civil society. I do sometimes wonder if those in charge are quite ready for what they might get when we all do more effective public engagement? I know I’m not up to it.
How will we respond if people say, yes, thanks for asking, no we don’t want geoengineering, artificial meat, or GM the next time round? What will it do to our trust if we just go ahead anyway after saying we would listen and respond.